Category : Social Media

Watching Your Every Tweet!

Twitter Sparq

Many people wonder who is interested in reading tweets about what people had for breakfast. Well, here’s one answer: cereal makers like Kellogg’s and Quaker Oats.

Advertisers are starting to target ads to you based on what you say on Twitter. And if you tweet something nice about a product, you might even see your blurb in bold type on an ad, just like a Jeffrey Lyons movie review. So says Seth Goldstein, the chief executive of SocialMedia, a company that has created advertising formats for Facebook, MySpace, and now Twitter.

Of course, Twitter itself doesn’t put ads on its Web site and doesn’t include ads in the streams of tweets from users. But SocialMedia has found other ways to help advertisers bind their messages to Twitter users. One, called Twitter Sparq, places ads on some Twitter applications, including PowerTwitter (a Firefox plugin) and TwitterFon (an iPhone application).

Twitter Sparq is designed to be an automated auction of text ads, much like Google’s AdWords. But while ads on Google relate to what you are searching for, Twitter Sparq ads are shown to people based on “the list of historical keywords that the user has tweeted in the past,” the company’s site explains.

Is that an invasion of your privacy? It’s not like advertisers are sneaking around watching where you surf without telling you. They are listening to what you have chosen to shout to the whole world.

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TripAdvisor banishes fake reviews

The influential travel Web site TripAdvisor has been quietly posting disclaimers to warn customers of hotels writing fake reviews to improve their popularity rankings or hurt competitors.

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The red disclaimers near the names of hotels show that TripAdvisor has a problem with fake reviews, travel bloggers and industry experts say. One blogger, Jeff Tucker, warned that without changes to restore credibility to the reviews the site is “going to come crumbling down behind them.”

Experts say manipulated reviews can be overly positive, citing features — such as the brand of faucet fixtures — regular travelers rarely notice. Or they can be extremely negative, with a competitor bashing a hotel that generally has more favorable reviews. Fake posters often have only one or a few reviews, whereas many regular TripAdvisor users post numerous reviews.

Travel industry insiders — but often not casual travelers — understand the financial incentives hotels have to artificially inflate their rankings on the site. Some offer discounts or freebies to patrons who write positive reviews or hire public relations companies who say they can improve the reviews.

The company has policies to weed out suspicious reviews, screens reviews before they are posted, and uses automated tools to identify attempts to corrupt the system, Ferencsik said. Users can also report reviews they find not credible.

Full story here

Social Networking = Cohesion or Division?

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Is the social media revolution bringing us together? Or is it perpetuating divisions by race and class?

An important question asked by New York Times’ Riva Richmond.

I know, your all probably thinking, “what do you mean division, social media is all about bringing people together.” Your right, most social media is, well, just that. Social. It functions as a wonderful, easy-to-access, and often free medium in the online social stratosphere. But take a second and think to your self. Does social media always help promote diversity in your own life? Think about the people you communicate with via social media. Aren’t the overwhelming majority business partners, co workers, old college buddies, home town friends, family. In short, most people tend to connect with other people like them. It’s true outside social media as well.

I hate to bash the leverage of social media, but are people really being brought together in a new way? My opinion is, not always. Even as I examine my own social media endeavors I realize, the majority of the people that I interact with are my college friends, hometown buddies, co-workers, clients, family, and career-like minded people. Other than that, I can’t really account for much of the other engagement that occurs across my array of social networking profiles.

In addition to people centralizing their social conversation around a relitivly narrow selection of genres of people (way to wordy), studies also show that certain socioeconomic groups tend to flock to specific social media networks over others. For example, during the 2006-7 school year, conversations with high school students showed a trend of white, upper-class and college-bound teenagers migrating to Facebook. Meanwhile, less educated and nonwhite teenagers were on MySpace. The interviewer, Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research New England, noted that old-style class arrogance was also in view; the Facebook kids were quicker to use condescending language toward the MySpace users. “What we’re seeing is a modern incarnation of white flight,” Says Boyb. “It should scare the hell out of us.”

Others have mounted quantitative studies that confirm these divides. A December 2008 study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that, over all, Facebook users were more likely to be male and have completed college, while MySpace users were somewhat more likely to be female, black or Hispanic, and to have not completed college. Since that study, however, Facebook has boomed and the social network landscape has no doubt changed significantly.

Ms. Boyd’s contention is that social media “mirrors and magnifies” our social divisions, rather than removes them. “We can use technology as a tool to connect with people, but we can’t assume that it will eliminate all of the serious issues we have to face in this country,” Ms. Boyd said at PDF. “Pervasive social stratification is being reified in a new era. If we don’t address this head-on, inequality will develop deeper roots that will further cement divisions in our lives.”

So my question to the reader is, do you think Social Media (and more specifically social networking) is in fact fostering an online environment of Cohesion among all people, or one reinforcing the haunting socioeconomical divisions that remain so deeply rooted in America’s past, present, and possibly future?

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Trusting the brand to the lowly ‘twintern’

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Many corporate higher-ups are demonstrating a genuine concern for the level of discretionary decision making invested in todays corporate “twinterns” (Twitter/social media interns). The thing is, many companies such as Pizza Hut are now choosing to hire paid interns to focus on their social media endeavors. Great idea, in theory.

One of the most common myths surrounding social media is the idea that teens and college students, because of their inherent involvement in the social media realm, must be great agents for corporate social media management and counsel. True, an overwhelming majority of Americans between the ages of 17-23 are now not only engaged but completely consumed with social media. But even so, many of these Gen Y Social media “Gurus” only know social media from an individual perspective. They understand how to harness the power of social media for networking with friends, but not for improving brand recognition, employing marketing campaigns or generating social buzz around a companies product.

One London based home-furnishings retailer, “Habitat” ‘s twittering intern got in big trouble last month after he sent out misleading tweets that included commonly searched words related to the protests in Iran. He added keywords — called “hashtags” in Twitterspeak — such as Iran and Mousavi to messages so that people who searched for information about the protests would see his employer’s ads instead. His bosses were not pleased. “This was absolutely not authorised by Habitat,” a representative said in a statement. “We were shocked when we discovered what happened and are very sorry for the offence that was caused.” Habitat has since deleted the tweets and vowed to “do better for the Twitter community.”

For this very reason, many organizations have refrained from employing under experienced interns to handle their social media loose ends.

Even so, companies like Pizza Hut, who have entrusted single social media interns with entire twitter campaigns, have witnessed amazing success within just months of hiring their twinterns. Robinson, Pizza Hut’s first official “twintern”, spends much of the day on the free microblogging service Twitter sending out messages about special promotions, responding to customer complaints, and trolling Twitter for mentions of Pizza Hut.

Despite a lack of in-house experience — she worked for only one day in a Pizza Hut restaurant — Robinson seems to be doing a fine job thus far. She has increased Pizza Hut’s Twitter followers from 3,000 to more than 13,000 and successfully executed a sales promotion over the Fourth of July weekend. And despite having only been on the job for a month, she seems well-informed about the company offerings. In response to a customer inquiry, she tweeted on Tuesday: “Currently the Stuffed Pizza Rolls are only available with pepperoni. I’ll keep you posted if anything changes.”

But she might have added this caveat: if anything changes this summer. The twinternship ends come September, at which point the posting duties will presumably change hands once again.

So the Question is, do you think trusting a “twintern” with your brands social media endeavors could prove useful or fatal?

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Scoops Top Five Reasons She

Scoops Here.

This Friday, instead of delivering the latest popular social/ media news topic, I wanted to take a little time and reflect on why I love social media so much. So here it goes…

1. TRENDING TOPICS. I am able to make up ridiculous trending topics with the hopes of it will catch on. Being on the Top Twitter Trends is my goal, for example my latest project is #bustalyric. I started off as fun between @pmaloney and I while in the office, but now I really think it has the chops to catch on! All you do is put in your favorite lyric (characters permitting of course) and then #bustalyric. It actually gets quite addicting.

2. MIND SPEAK. What is great about social media and especially through ‘Talk Is Cheap’ I get to have a voice in many circumstances and topics to where I would not typically be able to. We all have opinions on stuff, so it is always great to have a platform to speak your mind whether it be a great recommendation or just a full out rant.

3. LOYAL SOCIALMEDIALITES. The power of social media and the effect it has on people. For example, and you know who you are, the Twitter watchers who can have a reply within seconds and a new post every five minutes. Most would believe that these people have no life and too much time on their hands, maybe for some that is the case–but for most they just enjoy being apart of the proverbial conversation. These are not just people who listen they are always contributing to it as well!

4. iGOOGLE. Not the most relevant social media contribution, but this is my post and I am going to mention it anyway. My iGoogle page does it all for me. I have my RSS Reader where I check out all the new happening among SoME blogs and bookmarking sites. Where do you think I find all my cool news stories from! Not just to keep me informed, it does so much more for me. It can tell me how to say ‘scoops’ in Turkish, what the 5 day forecast is going to be, but most importantly it is home to my virtual penguins and turtles. That’s cool.

5. iPHONE APPS. Social media is everywhere, especially when you have an iphone. My phone is just an extension of when I am not at work or in front of my Macbook at home. Thanks to the Facebook, LinkedIN and Tweetdeck applications I can stay connected on my terms—and that’s how I like it!

So there it was. It is not meant to be technical or provide any profound revelations about why social media is important. It is just some a few ways social media just does it for me.

NFL Says “No” to Players Tweeting During Games

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If you were hoping for Chad Ochocinco to pull out his cell phone and tweet after scoring a touchdown this season, prepare to be disappointed. According to NBC Sports, the NFL will not allow in-game tweeting, per the league’s current policy of prohibiting players or other team personnel from using their cell phones during competition. However, it’s unclear what the penalty will be for doing so, and if the past is any indicator, an attention seeking multi-millionaire of the Ochocinco variety will probably be happy to pay the fine for the thrill of pulling off an unprecedented touchdown celebration and tweeting from the end-zone.

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A shout out to the Grammies and Grampies on FB

I talk to business owners and CEOs every day about social networking and when it comes to Facebook, I usually hear things like – ‘Facebook is too young for our business,’ or my new favorite (from a meeting this past Thursday) ‘People of my generation don’t know what Facebook is.’  Then I go through my schpeel that Facebook has over 200 million users, more than 70 million of them are in the US alone.  40% of US users are over the age of 35. From 2007 to 2008 the percentage of people aged 43-63 consuming social media rose nearly 60%. (Those of you who read this blog know about the baby boomers.)

The truth is that July 09 numbers for Facebook bring the  number of users 55+ way closer to the number of users 17 and under.

Facebook users really run the gammit of demographics – It’s been my assertion that this is because it provides an easy platform for people to show off pictures of your kids and your dogs (I admit, I am very guilty of this).

I can only assume this theory is right on as the number of grandparents on Facebook has grown more than 500% in the last six months alone. What better, easier place is there for Grammies and Grampies to get the latest pictures of their beloved grandchildren.

I suppose if you are my parents, it might be this blog. Hi Mom!

Part-Two of Twitter Faux Pas:Scoops Top 5 local companies with Questionable Twitters

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Scoops Here. To supplement the Twitter Faux Pas I mentioned yesterday. I thought I would give some of my examples of local companies in New England with some questionable Twitters themselves.

1. http://twitter.com/TJXCo – with only 37 followers there is not much to see here. Although Twitter is a great tool for recruitment such as with clients such as @CareOneCareers and @HealthbridgeMGT, I would think that a retail-oriented company would have more things to Twitter about than Assistant Store Manager position. I love me some great deals at HomeGoods…let me hear it!

2.  http://twitter.com/genzymecorp – Cricket, Cricket, Cricket…other than the 28 followers this top 100 Best of Massachusetts business has yet to say a word.

3. http://twitter.com/idefender – This particular one hits close to home for Scoops. Before becoming the social media guru you see here, I was a Marketing Coordinator, for yes, a local cybersecurity company. Not to mention that it only has one follower, but when I went to show it some love I received the message “Sorry, the account you were headed to has been suspended due to strange activity. Mosey along now, nothing to see here.” —Ouch

4. http://twitter.com/CapeCod_Storage – A storage company will only have one Tweet to their repository. Shocking.

5. http://twitter.com/modellssports & http://twitter.com/modells – nothing better than one inactive Twitter account but than to have two inactive Twitter accounts! With a combined total of 7 followers it looks like both are going nowhere fast.

So there it was, my top local Twitter offenders. I do want to give some props to come local Twitter stars such as @DunkinDonuts, @Reebok, @EMCsoftware, @RaytheonCompany to name a few.

Et Fin.

Twitter Faux Pas–Business Style!

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Scoops Here.

So your company is ready to get on Twitter…FANTASTIC! Now of course you want to do it right, so you go on looking at another company’s page for best practices. That is all well and good…unless you start to mimic what I will term–Twitter offenders! I stumbled upon a great blog post discussing some Twitter Faux Pas. Rupal Parekh did a great job highlighting some bad Twitter offenders. Whether your company is small or large you can still have an awful Twitter strategy.

One great example is when a few months ago Volvo secured an ad-placement deal with YouTube to promote the Twitter feed for its XC60 model (@VolvoXC60). But the agency that created the innovative rich-media ad for Volvo, Havas’ Euro RSCG, has an account (@Euro_RSCG) that’s never been used.

Even worse, having a company that has a working Twitter account but it is maintained half-heartedly. Case in point from Parekh: Digital shop Publicis Modem, London (@PublicisModemUK), declares in its bio that it is “one of the world’s leading digital agencies operating in 36 countries,” yet its tweets are sloppy, riddled with grammatical errors and say things such as “2 hours to work…not that fun.”

Moral of the story here is if you are a company and want to get on Twitter, then make sure to get a plan together and think things through, most of all make sure have something worth talking about!

 

 

Fin.

Realtors, Home Buying and Social Media

On Thursday, Pam and I had the chance to speak to RE/MAX Paramount about Social Media and your web presence. What a great group! They had great questions and, were eager to share their success stories, and even poked fun at me regarding the general theme found in my spam box (cough…John Shea)

On our way back to the office we talked about how house hunting as changed over the past ten years. Here is our top 5. We call it “In the Year 2000” (Thanks Conan)

1.In the year 2000: Get the Sunday paper, sit down with the coffee and highlighter and plan your open house attack for the day

Now: Still got your coffee but at the computer playing on HotPadz and Trulia.

2. In the year 2000: For information on a house you probably saw one wide lens picture and a Tweet-sized description.

Now: Do a 360 Virtual Tour of a house in your pjs.

3. In the year 2000: Realtors would bake cookies and treats and serve them up at the open houses to make it smell like home.

Now: They skip the cookies and ask you for your email address so they can inundate your inbox on a daily-basis.

4. In the year 2000:  The only thing you knew about a realtor was their mugshot…whoops I mean headshot in the newspaper

Now: Thanks to Social Networking you can see everything from what they ate for breakfast to YouTube videos of their kids playing baseball.

5. In the year 2000: You had one phone number (hopefully a cell) to reach your realtor. If they weren’t there you are both out of luck.

Now: You have the office number, cell number, three email addresses, husband/wives cell phone, home address, Twitter feed, Facebook profile – you name it they will give it to you (since they’ve all bought stock in Blackberries apparently – and what? no iPhones?). If you can’t find your realtor, you didn’t try hard enough.

What did we miss?